Did you know gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease? Fortunately, the infection is mild in this stage and can be easily managed with proper treatment.

In many cases, gum disease may have few or no symptoms. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. People may have bad breath or notice their gums are swollen, red, tender, or even bleed slightly when flossing or brushing. Bleeding gums are never normal; it’s a sign that you have an infection and need to see a dentist to restore your oral health.

If the gum disease is not treated, it can lead to periodontitis. As the disease progresses, it causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Our dental experts at Family Dental Group include periodontists. Periodontists are dentists who completed an additional two years of training dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of gum conditions.

What Causes Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

The bacteria in your mouth can cause dental decay by eroding the enamel of teeth above the gum line. Bacteria can also spread below the gum line and erode the tissues and bone that hold teeth in place.

There are several factors that can lead to periodontal disease including:

  • poor teeth brushing and flossing
  • malocclusions (bad bite)
  • poor nutrition
  • smoking
  • aging
  • genetics
  • pregnancy or other hormone changes
  • stress
  • systemic disease including diabetes

How is Gum Disease Treated?

During your dental visit, the hygienist and dentist will evaluate the health of your gums. Gum disease is a chronic illness. It is only reversible in the earliest stage (gingivitis). Once it advances, it needs to be managed regularly just like diabetes or any other chronic disease.

There are a variety of treatments depending on the progression of the infection. The most common is frequently referred to as a “deep cleaning.” This is scaling and root planing procedure that removes plaque from the tooth surfaces below the gum line (scaling) and smooths rough spots on the tooth roots (planing). This procedure removes the bacteria and creates a smooth surface for the gums to reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the dentist may also use antibiotics.”

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